U.S. Stocks Indexes Veer Lower; Crude Oil Recovers

(AP) -

Major U.S. stock indexes moved lower in afternoon trading Wednesday as the price of crude oil gave back some of its gains from earlier in the day. Investors were weighing the latest company earnings and economic news from of China. Consumer discretionary stocks were among the biggest decliners.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 156 points, or 1 percent, to 16,359 as of 1:08 p.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 19 points, or 1 percent, to 1,918. The Nasdaq composite dropped 69 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,616.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil rose 15 cents to $30.59 a barrel in New York. It had been up more than 3 percent in the first hour of trading, but stumbled on a report showing that demand for fuels slipped last week. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 37 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $30.58 a barrel in London.

TIED TO OIL: Several oil and gas companies fell sharply as crude prices wavered. Williams Cos. tumbled $2.58, or 15.6 percent to $13.96. Consol Energy slid 81 cents, or 12.1 percent, to $5.89. Valero Energy shed $5.10, or 7.2 percent, to $66.09.

DISAPPOINTING OUTLOOKS: Investors sold off shares in Ford Motor and auto parts supplier BorgWarner after both companies issued earnings outlooks that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. Ford fell 62 cents, or 4.9 percent, to $12.23. BorgWarner lost $4.20, or 11.2 percent, to $33.20.

EARNINGS UNDERWHELM: Railroad operator CSX and supermarket chain SuperValu were down after the companies reported their latest quarterly results. CSX slid $1.54, or 6.5 percent, to $22.16. SuperValu fell 54 cents, or 9.1 percent, to $5.47.

DRIVING DIVIDEND: General Motors rose 0.9 percent after the automaker raised its dividend and added to its stock repurchase program. The stock gained 27 cents to $30.58.

DEAL PLANS: MetLife climbed 4.3 percent after the company said it plans to sell or spin off a large part of its life insurance business. The stock gained $1.82 to $43.81.

RESILIENCE: Stock markets in the U.S. and Europe are showing some resilience in the face of the volatility in China. Worries over the future of the world’s second-largest economy have triggered big falls in stock markets around the world at the start of 2016.

EYES ON CHINA: China’s exports rose 2.3 percent in December from a year earlier in yuan terms, reversing a 3.7 percent drop in November. Exports fell in dollar terms but the decrease was smaller than November’s. The data suggest a weakening in the yuan may be helping boost demand for Chinese products.

OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 of leading British shares was 0.5 percent higher. In Asia, stocks rallied despite a 2.4 percent drop in the Shanghai Composite. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 2.9 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.3 percent. Shares in New Zealand and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.09 percent from 2.11 percent late Tuesday. Trading in foreign exchange markets was subdued. The euro was little changed at $1.0857 and the dollar rose to 118.01 yen from 117.58 yen.